Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Game

Ramon and Majik by Alan

If it were less of a game, the conditions surrounding Ramon Soledad's silence would be interpreted as a grave beguiling, a heavy occupation of a vaguely familiar country's capital by dissidents who had had enough of the corrupt president's shady ties to the significantly larger juggernaut next door. If it were more of a game, the weight wouldn't sit so squarely in the chest first and then in the mind and then, like clockwork, back into the chest again as if it too were breathing long and disparate measurings of time and space. Instead, it lived somewhere in the middle, where only the most daring of our kind will venture to go.

Of course, several of Majik's acquaintances cautioned of such ambivalence. They said it would lead to hesitation and disrupt the general flow of life. Like a man uncertain crossing a busy street, the ripples would extend out and rub against neighborly convictions. There may be accidents in the crosswalk. People would get mad at him and at others. Especially in inclement weather.

But to him, there seemed no other way. To him, there was that very field (between "love wins" and "love fails" was one way of marking it) that a mentor had shown him once and now forever wedged beneath the open door. To him, Ramon was and might forever be both lost and found, an imprint upon whatever constitutes the idea of the soul in modern life. He was always and never there, burgeoning yet pressing against the walls of the invisible aquariums we set around us. He was the room without doors, both inside and out. And because of this, he was the most dangerous of all the terrorists Majik had come to know and love, the most dangerous and (in those in between spaces) the most indispensable. The most made up thing of which he could ever conceive and the most true in that gorgeous making.


Lesson by Sherisse

The game was always on in summer. Her kitchen. The perfume-scented heat from the clothes dryer. All the mothers asleep. No one speaking openly about God.

Outside it’s dark; through a low window the legs of people walking to and from the avenue. Grandfather is playing dominoes at the social club. Grandmother pulls out a piece of blank paper, two pens. The smell of lemon and cinnamon and condensed milk.

In a dream you are in a bed not necessarily your own. Mother is clipping your nails and hair. Her lover is hiding in the bathroom. Your legs ache, ears burn. There are doctors lining up to treat you.

You start to forget what you know; you remember things out of order; you make muses out of strangers.

The game is the background noise of nightly living, soundtrack of housework, the end of Communism. You fall in love with all the great mysteries. This kitchen as church, the magic of some faceless saint.

Carmen tells you the story of the body like this: bare feet, clothes on the table, nail polish, Solitaire. Go where you wish, she says through her mouth and laughing she leaves you alone with her roses.


Some Baseball Stories by Forrest

This is a story about baseball that must take its cue from other stories about baseball. A game of men and weapons and lines and empty spaces. It is something like the ancient boardgame of Go, if the fans can think of the players as blank stones upon which only allegiance is written and forget that baseball only has twenty-five men to a team. In that case, baseball is very much like Go. Perhaps it is too much like Go. Perhaps baseball is not as original as the fans believe. The first-baseman has to be crying about something, so why can't it be that. There is nothing sadder than a story about baseball where a player is sad because he realizes mid-game what an unoriginal sport baseball is, remembering a deceased Japanese grandfather with whom he played Go and always lost to because the guy was relentless, even with his grandchildren. He was a real bastard, this first-baseman thinks, which is a comparable trope to other stories about baseball he knew. Perhaps too many stories. There should be a story where the shortstop makes a routine throw to first base but the first-baseman refuses to make the catch because he decides the lack of originality in his life has become too much to bear. Yes, he likes the idea of this story: allegiance cast aside, blank stone comes to life and renounces all forms of bastardy, especially as it relates to allegorical warfare. His orbital socket will need mending, but that's all good. He won't take marching orders from some lousy unoriginal story. The fans can go screw themselves, too, he decides as the boos cascade down upon him. Those nets behind home plate aren't for anyone's protection. They're another insult.


I Have Learned to Live on Memories by Lyle

America's pastime. So I'm reminded. So I'm dated. It all sounds so wooden. I can't eat ballpark franks anymore. So I've taught myself to survive on memories. Little snippets of hoof and ass. It's been months since I've even parted my lips for water. I remember the run to the World Series and let the beer spill into my lap, forming a little pool -- that smell -- the memories moisten my pants and thus my lips. Remember that I am dated by pastimes, here. Watching home runs nourishes me, a bit of salt from a stone. Almost imperceptible. Almost. Almost a memory is still a little salt on a stone. I have no confidence in this, though I watch my games, though I pick the cotton candy from children's sticks when they are not watching, though I am reminded as I sleep dreaming of baseball. Of a pastime stretching out into mindless, pure blue sky.